To carve a good Jack-O-Lantern, you need
the right tools for the job! They have to be sharp enough, flexible, thin and sturdy.
Over the years we've collected, experimented with,
altered or made a number of tools suited for our pumpkin carving toolkit.
Most of what you will need you may already
have in your kitchen or can be purchased in the kitchen section at your local department
store. The basics are listed below and generally won't cost you more that $25.00
We use this long, thin bladed knife to cut the top hole and any large pieces out of the
face of the pumpkin.
Paring Knife: We took a small paring knife to the grinder to make
a very thin bladed knife for detail work.
Sharpening stone: Knives work best when sharp, and are actually safer because they require
less force to make the necessary cuts. We sharpen our knives before and often during our
pumpkin carving. Be sure to follow the instruction that come with the sharpening stone.
Tools for transferring and cutting out
paper stencil patterns.
Saw: This tool is essential for carving
fine, detailed areas, but can be used for carving the entire Jack-O-Lantern. We like to
use an X-Acto knife (No. 5 Knife Handle) with the keyhole saw (No. 15)
This is used to transfer your designs onto the face of the pumpkin. An ice pick or nail
can be used for this. An artist's Stylus tool makes a great Poker Tool and can be found at
most craft and art supply stores. You can also use a transfer tool from
a pumpkin carving kit as well.
Patterns: You can make these on your computer, download
pre-made ones or buy them during the Halloween season in booklets.
Gutting Spoons: We use several different types and sizes of spoons for removing the seeds, pulp
and skin from the inside of the pumpkin. An ice-cream scoop and a large metal ladle work
great to scrap the inside of the pumpkin to remove the guts.
Utensils like the ones on the right are inexpensive
and can be found at most department stores in their kitchen section. We've picked some up
at our local dollar store for much less than other stores carry them. Shop around!
Tool Box: Something to keep all of your pumpkin carving tools
in insures that they stay together and you can find them when the time comes. Toolboxes
can be found at hardware and department stores. Our toolbox, pictured to the right, is
large enough to hold all of our tools, templates and candles. It only cost ten dollars and
best of all, it's orange!
Candles & Holders:
We prefer the traditional use of candles to
illuminate our Jack-O'-Lanterns. Votive candles, placed in clear glass candle holders are
safer and last longer. Plain white candles give off the most light.
Remember, any fire, no matter how small or protected
has the potential for becoming a large and potentially disastrous one. Fire safety should
always be the number one priority. Never leave a lit candle unsupervised. Have a fire
extinguisher readily available and see that everyone knows how to use it. Never leave
children unattended with a lit pumpkin, candles or other source of fire.
take good care of your carving tools they'll last a very long time, if not a lifetime.
Always clean your tools after you use them, and then
store them all together for the next Halloween.
Care should be taken not to bend knife blades
or carving saw blades. Carving blades are very thin and sometimes brittle, and can be
particularly subject to breaking.